WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that while he has been busy creating jobs and killing terrorist, Democrats have been focused on "demented hoaxes, crazy witch hunts and deranged partisan crusades."
Speaking at a political rally in deep-blue New Jersey, Trump told a crowd of cheering supporters that Democrats have been working for three years to overturn the results of the 2016 election. They won't succeed, he vowed.
"We will make sure they face another crushing defeat in the next election," Trump said. "We are going to have a victory that is even greater than 2016."
Trump's rally in Wildwood, N.J., a resort city on the southern Jersey coast, came just hours after his legal team wrapped up its defense in his Senate impeachment.
While New Jersey is considered Democratic territory, the southern part of the state skews more conservative and is considered friendlier terrain for Republicans. Even so, New Jersey is a long shot for Trump in this fall's election. Four years ago, he lost the Garden State to Hillary Clinton by 14 percentage points.
Besides giving Trump a platform to make his pitch for another four years in the White House, the rally also will gave ehim a chance to reward Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a freshman congressman from southern New Jersey.
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Van Drew, who traveled to New Jersey rally with Trump aboard Air Force One, was one of only two House Democrats to break ranks and vote against both articles of impeachment.
Van Drew later switched his party affiliation to the GOP, a move that Trump welcomed during a visit between the two in the Oval Office on Dec. 19, the day after the House's historic vote. Trump, whose surrogates encouraged the congressman to join the Republicans, will return the favor by campaign for Van Drew's re-election bid at Tuesday's rally.
At the rally, Trump called Van Drew "a courageous" and "principled" leader who, like many voters, got tired of Democratic "vile hoaxes and scams."
"He said, I'm not doing it. It's a hoax. It's a scam. I'm not doing it,'" Trump said.
Van Drew, who took the stage to cheers, said this fall's election will be a "flash-point election" in which voters must decide whether they want to "keep America great."
Offering a New Jersey version of his stump speech, Trump recited a record that included new trade deals, a bigger defense budget, counter-terrorism actions, and the economy.
Trump also introduced aides who hail from New Jersey, including presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, who told the crowd: "Two new trade deals, two Supreme Court justices, two dead terrorists -that's two terms!"
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The line to get inside the Wildwoods Convention Center began forming even before daylight early Tuesday.
Nick Ruggiero of Staten Island took his place in line around 3 a.m. The 20-year-old drove two and a half hours with a friend to Wildwood and was able to secure a hotel room.
"We were in the room for about an hour and saw the line start to form and figured if we want a good spot we better get down there," said Ruggiero, who was dressed in all red. "We're a country divided right now between the Left and the Right, and we have to come and show support. A lot of people my age, in my generation, think very differently than I do and I'm just excited to show my support for the president."
Jenn Korndoerfer, 41, of Waretown, N.J., stood deeper in line with her mother, fingers crossed they would make it inside the convention center.
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"Just to be a part of the excitement and to support Donald Trump, it's worth it," Korndoerfer said. "The whole experience so far has been great, and we just want to show him that New Jersey loves him."
Michael Collins and David Jackson cover the White House. Reach Collins on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS and Jackson @djusatoday.
Contributing: Anthony V. Coppola of the Cherry Hill Courier-Post
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump in Jersey: Trump takes re-election bid into deep-blue territory